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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Bandipur national park: Karnataka’s unique biodiversity hotspot with an array of threatened species

The park, one of the most protected reserves,constitutes one of the largest contiguous forests in the country along with neighbouring national parks of Nagarhole in Karnataka, Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad wildlife sanctuary in Kerala.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2019 08:07 IST
Sibi Arasu
Sibi Arasu
Bengaluru
Karnataka’s unique biodiversity hotspot with an array of threatened species.
Karnataka’s unique biodiversity hotspot with an array of threatened species.(AFP)
         

The 874 sq.km Bandipur national park and tiger reserve, apart from the eponymous tiger (numbering 406 at last count) is also home to a wide array of endangered animals such as the four-horned antelope, the Black Panther, the Indian giant squirrel, the Indian pangolin and the small Indian civet. It also has the largest population of Asian elephants.

The park, one of the most protected reserves, constitutes one of the largest contiguous forests in the country along with neighbouring national parks of Nagarhole in Karnataka, Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad wildlife sanctuary in Kerala.

The flora of Bandipur is mostly dry-deciduous and supports a wide variety of timber, including the expensive rosewood and sandalwood. It is this rich treasure trove of flora and fauna that has been reduced to cinders in the forest fires. “Forest fires not only destroy habitats and food sources of wildlife they also kill thousands of smaller mammals, groundnesting birds, insects, slow moving reptiles and other wildlife species. Even young ones of animals such as tigers, leopards, dholes, chital, are at times killed by forest fires as the mothers leave the young ones in tree cavities, smaller dens etc,” said Bengaluru-based conservationist, Sanjay Gubbi of the Nature Conservation Foundation. “Apart from its impact on wildlife they also destroy the valuable leaf litter accumulated on forest floor which acts as natural manure for trees and plants. Hence it is important to enlist the support of villagers living near protected areas and spread awareness about the impact of forest fires on the eco-system,” he added.

First Published: Feb 26, 2019 07:36 IST

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